Specific changes in the chemical and microbial composition of Thermoanaerobium brockii fermentations were compared and related to alterations of process rates, end product yields, and growth parameters. Fermentation of starch as compared with glucose was associated with significant decreases in growth rate and intracellular fructose-1,6-bisphosphate concentration and with a dramatic increase in the ethanol/lactate product ratio. Glucose or pyruvate fermentation in the presence of acetone was correlated with increased substrate consumption, growth (both rate and yield), acetate yield, and quantitative reduction of acetone to isopropanol in lieu of normal reduced fermentation products (i.e., H2, ethanol, lactate). Acetone altered pyruvate phosphoroclastic activity of cell extracts in that H2, lactate, and ethanol levels decreased, whereas the acetate concentration increased. Glucose fermentation in the presence of exogenous hydrogen was associated with inhibition of endogenous H2 production and either increased ethanol/acetate product ratios and decreased growth at less than 0.5 atm (51 kPa) of H2 or total growth inhibition at 1.0 atm (102 kPA). The effects of exogenous hydrogen on glucose fermentation were totally reversed by the addition of acetone. Glucose fermentation in coculture with Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum correlated with increased growth (both rate and yield), acetate yield, and the formation of methane in lieu of monoculture reduced products. In coculture, but not monoculture, T. brockii grew on ethanol as the energy source, and acetate and methane were the end products as a direct consequence of hydrogen consumption by the methanogen
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